By Mark Etheridge
Team South Africa’s cyclists now move from Merano, Italy to Segovia, Spain for the second of their two UCI World Cup para-cycling events this weekend.
The team ended their first World Cup with two medals. Those were London Paralympics silver medallist Ernst van Dyk and Roxy Burns.
Van Dyk raced to another silver medal, again only being beaten by ex Formula One ace Alex Zenardi, in the H4 hand-cycle category.
Then Burns got bronze in the women’s C4 road race, an added bonus after it was originally thought that only three cyclists had entered this category and only two medals would be awarded.
But four entrants meant that Cape Town based Burns was belatedly awarded the bronze, after initially missing the medal ceremony.
The team have settled in Segovia after an epic trip in two panel vans that took longer than their flight from South Africa to Italy.
Ahead of this week’s action team coach Ricky Kulsen said Paralympic veteran Van Dyk would once again be the go-to man for glory.
“We’re looking at Ernst again and then the four T1 and T2 riders to perform. I must say that Yustin Lintnaar is the revelation of the tour so far. He’s showing great potential and is looking like a good Rio prospect.”
In terms of course difficulty, Kulsen says that once again there’s a sting in the tail. Merano featured a tough 1.1km climb to the finish but Segovia is a different beast.
“This week’s time trial is flat and not as technical as Italy but the road race (on an 11km circuit) has a nasty 800m cobble-stoned climb to the finish.”